The easiest thing you can do to be more eco-friendly is stop buying new stuff. But that’s not the most practical way forward. So when you do need to buy something, what are the things you should look for in a garment?
1. Avoid buying ‘man-made fabrics’: Fabrics like polyester, nylon, rayon and acrylic use oil and plastic to make – making it non-degradable (so will take about 200 years to decompose). And each time you wash these clothes, they release tiny strands called micro-fibers that end up in the drain, and go on to pollute the sea.
2. Look for organic cotton: Like most crops, the cotton crop is grown with a lot of pesticides that not only pollute the food and water systems, they are also toxic for the farmers who grow them.
3. Buy local: By buying clothes from a label that manufactures clothes locally, we can reduce our carbon footprint – imported clothes or raw materials use up limited fuel reserves. It also gives us a chance to explore local craftsmanship, which especially in a country like India, is a gift that keeps on giving.
4. Opt for long-lasting styles: I think we’ve all realized at this point that trends are officially moving faster than we can process them, so buy outfits that look and feel good. Because those are the clothes you’ll keep wearing, regardless of what’s trending in any given moment.
5. Consider buying pre-owned outfits: While we may not easily find charity stores or thrift shops here in India, there is immense value in buying from second-hand stores. There are a number of online second-hand clothing stores, if none of them work for you, clothes swap is a fun way to get into your friends’ closet, and a better way to shop.
Do you have any other ideas for eco-friendly shopping?